Crab Souffle, Caramel Frosting

DEAR SOS: I flipped over the crab souffle at Rockenwagner's restaurant in Santa Monica. What are the chances of having the recipe?

--HOOK

DEAR HOOK: Good chance. Chef-owner Hans Rockenwagner admits it is a complicated recipe for home cooks, but suggests reducing the stress of last-minute work by preparing the crab stock and the souffle base in advance and keeping them refrigerated until ready to assemble and bake.

ROCKENWAGNER'S CRAB SOUFFLE

5 tablespoons butter

5 tablespoons flour

2 1/2 cups milk

3 egg yolks

2 eggs

Salt

White pepper

Hot pepper sauce or cayenne pepper

1 cup Crab Stock

8 egg whites

Lobster Butter Sauce

Sliced mangoes

In saucepan over medium heat melt butter. Stir in flour until smooth. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring, and add milk all at once. Stir vigorously with wire whisk until smooth paste is formed. Stir in egg yolks and eggs. Season to taste with salt, white pepper and hot pepper sauce. Add Crab Stock. Mix well to form smooth thick souffle base.

Beat egg whites to soft peaks and gently fold into warm souffle base. Pour or spoon into 2-quart souffle dish that has been well buttered and floured. Place souffle dish in roasting pan and place on middle oven rack. Add 1 to 1 1/2 inches boiling water. Bake at 375 degrees until top is puffy and browned, 20 to 30 minutes. Serve with Lobster Butter Sauce and garnish with sliced mangoes, if desired. Makes 4 servings.

Each serving, with sauce, contains about:

849 calories; 2,874 mg sodium; 580 mg cholesterol; 51 grams fat; 35 grams carbohydrates; 64 grams protein; 1.22 grams fiber.

Crab Stock

1 1/2 to 2 pounds frozen uncooked Dungeness crab or lobster, in shell

1 1/2 large onions, chopped

3 to 4 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons tomato paste

2 cups tomato juice

1 tablespoon black peppercorns

1 bay leaf

2 quarts fish stock or clam juice

Coarsely chop crab or lobster with shells intact, using sharp cleaver or knife. In skillet saute crab meat with onion and garlic in butter until onion is tender and crab is cooked. Stir in tomato paste. Cook over high heat, stirring constantly, being careful to keep paste from scorching. Add tomato juice, peppercorns, bay leaf, fish stock or clam juice (being careful to avoid adding any milky residue from clams). Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 to 20 minutes.

Strain stock through fine mesh sieve, discarding crab and onion mixture and reserving stock. Place stock in clean saucepan and cook over high heat until liquid is reduced to 1 1/2 cups. Cool stock. Refrigerate and use as needed, reserving any leftover stock for use up to 3 days. Makes 1 1/2 cups.

Lobster Butter Sauce

1 large shallot, minced

2 to 3 anchovy fillets, mashed

Butter

1/2 cup Crab Stock, lobster or fish stock or clam juice

1/4 cup half and half or whipping cream

1/4 to 1/2 cup butter, cut into bits

Salt

White pepper

Hot pepper sauce

Dash fresh lemon juice

In skillet saute shallot and anchovies in 1 tablespoon butter until shallot is tender. Add Crab Stock or lobster or fish stock and half and half. Bring to boil. Bit by bit, add 1/2 cup butter that has been cut into bits and cook, stirring constantly just until all butter melts. Turn off heat and strain sauce. Season to taste with salt, white pepper and hot pepper sauce. Add lemon juice and stir. Serve at once. Makes about 1 cup.

*

DEAR SOS: My son always asks for caramel frosting on cake for his birthday, but once the caramel frosting did not turn out and I threw the recipe away. Now I want it back.

--HARRIET

DEAR HARRIET: You can make heirloom frosting by adding a boiled syrup in a thin stream to beaten egg whites. The frosting keeps in the refrigerator for several days and can be reconstituted by being beaten again. It's a tricky recipe, so use a candy thermometer to assure proper syrup temperature.

HEIRLOOM BOILED FROSTING

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup water

2 egg whites

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Combine sugar, corn syrup and water in saucepan. Place over moderate heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Continue to boil to soft ball stage (239 degrees on candy thermometer on dry day, or 242 degrees on rainy day).

Meanwhile beat egg whites in large bowl until stiff. Add syrup in thin stream, continuing to beat rapidly. Add vanilla and continue to beat until cold and stiff enough to hold shape.

Frosting can be kept in covered jar in refrigerator several days. When ready to use, beat in 1/2 teaspoon or so of boiling water to soften frosting. If frosting hardens at any stage, beating in boiling water will aid in keeping spreadable. Makes enough to frost 3 layers.

*White casserole in crab souffle photo is from Bristol Farms Cook 'N' Things, South Pasadena.

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